Working From Home, Inspired By Volunteers

By Claire Hammer, AmeriCorps Ambassador of Mentoring

At this point in 2020, it’s probably a cliche to say that some unexpected things have happened this year. No, I did not expect a pandemic to cut my year serving with City Year Boston short. No, I did not expect I would move back in with my parents for 5 months. And no, I did not expect to start a new job from my apartment.

Despite working from home, I’ve been inspired by how our volunteers and staff have been able to stay connected.

But of all of the things I didn’t expect to encounter this year, I didn’t anticipate seeing the “good” in people. Our volunteers, thankfully, have changed my mind.

What I had lost sight of until recently, was how much people want to help right now, in whatever way they can. This is true especially when it comes to supporting public school students. In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused people to turn inwards: we are venturing out less; we are meeting fewer people, and we are experiencing new emotions and stressors and figuring out how to process them.

The strong desire for helping and supporting students has shone through in nearly every mentor interview I have completed in the past few weeks. I have spoken to people who want to give back to schools they themselves attended, who want to help students navigate virtual schooling, and who worry about the immense amounts of pressure being experienced by both teachers and parents right now. 

The desire to support students has also been visible in the sheer number of applications we have received this fall from volunteers. This has also been a common theme in my training sessions and conversations with my fellow AmeriCorps members, serving at organizations similar to BPiE.

Not only have our new and returning mentors moved and inspired me, but they have also served as a reminder for the importance of our work at Boston Partners in Education. I have never felt more reassured that I am working exactly where I should be right now (even if it’s from my bedroom most days). 

As we head into the new school year and continue down a path of many unknowns, I’m energized and comforted by the support shown by our mentors for those in the Boston community.